How do you create and grow a successful brand? Just ask Jennifer Brand Ransom, who has built a successful business out of it. She launched Brand Solutions Group in 2009 with the goal of helping entrepreneurs and businesses in the food and law industries. She specializes in leveraging PR initiatives, social media, integrated marketing and strategic communications to help businesses and products stand out in competitive markets. After much success serving the Washington, D.C. area, she recently launched an office with her husband in the Chicago, Illinois, area.
Beyond helping to elevate businesses and products, Jennifer is also passionate about supporting women business owners. She currently serves as the Presidents Assembly Chair on NAWBO’s National Board of Directors.
Check out our inspiring conversation with Jennifer on her exciting work!
What led you to become an entrepreneur?
Because I said so! When asked as a little girl what I wanted to be as a grown up, I’d say a lawyer, a CEO and President of the United States. Of course, I grew up and forgot about that childish statement. When I graduated law school, my mom reminded me of what I’d predicted for myself and that I was a third of the way there.
Yes, having goals gets you somewhere, but it’s also about identifying a need and having the courage and determination to build something to fill it. After many years of working for organizations, while learning about business and strengthening my skills in law, marketing and PR, I realized there wasn’t a PR firm in the world that was servicing the clients I wanted to support. I had surrounded myself with smart, driven, encouraging entrepreneurs, and each had a part in helping me recognize that taking the leap from employee to business owner (CEO) would be a rewarding adventure for me and the potential clients that would benefit, too.
P.S.: I don’t have plans for a desk in the Oval Office…yet.
What inspired you to join NAWBO? How long have you been a member and what has kept you with the organization over the years?
Like many of our members, I found NAWBO in my infancy days of being a new business owner, nearly 10 years ago. When you take the life-changing step to start a business, it can be scary and stressful. Fortunately, there was a kind and personable woman who knew that she had access to something that would benefit me and would be more valuable to me and my business than any other networking group or business organization. She introduced me to the local NAWBO chapter, to women who were several steps ahead of me in building their businesses and to an environment where women of varying ages, backgrounds and stages in business were learning from each other and supporting each other in business growth, leadership development and community involvement while balancing responsibilities of everyday life.
Getting involved with NAWBO, serving on my chapter board, the Presidents Assembly Steering Committee and now on the National Board has benefitted me in meaningful ways—with mentors, friendships and inspiration and support from like-minded women business owners across the country. There’s a difference between getting involved in NAWBO with a mindset of making connections to ultimately boost your business vs. connecting with fellow women business owners in ways that are much deeper, richer and more valuable that enable you to better yourself and, in turn, boost your business.
Share with us what serving on the Presidents Assembly entails and why it’s so important.
The Presidents Assembly Steering Committee, or PASC, is designed as a resource for chapter presidents and president-elects. We serve the presidents and president-elects of each chapter by being a liaison between the local and national organizations.
We are the “voice of the chapters” to the National Board. We’re the first line of problem-spotters and idea-sharers—when we see issues bubbling up or new strategies working that could be beneficial to other chapters, we help communicate those to the National Board.
Our team helps each chapter by sharing information, providing a platform for chapter leaders to share best practices every month and assisting chapter leaders as they guide their chapters through strategic planning, succession planning, chapter management, etc. The PASC is also very involved with the Leadership Development Training events that are scheduled in varying cities throughout the year.
All of the PASC representatives have previously served as chapter presidents or have served in other leadership positions on their chapter board of directors, so they can relate to the demands chapter presidents experience. The PASC is a wealth of resources, knowledge and support to help chapter presidents successfully navigate through most circumstances.
- You can see the list of PASC representatives here. If you’re interested in serving on the PASC for the 2018-2020 term, we began taking applications on January 1. E-mail [email protected] for details.
Why would you encourage all chapter presidents to engage with the Presidents Assembly to benefit their chapters?
Serving as chapter president is a significant role and includes a variety of responsibilities. The PASC helps chapter presidents and president-elects understand their leadership position and how they can effectively empower others, including their board, chapter members and peers across the organization.
Every president and president-elect who participates in the PASC is able to tap into the wisdom and successes of other leaders and share best practices, talk about the challenges they face and how to navigate through them and be part of a unique supportive collaborative group of similarly situated leaders. Plus, it’s a personable way to hear the latest news from National and how it impacts the local chapter level and alternatively, to voice any issues or support on behalf of the chapter.
Chapter presidents and president-elects are encouraged to attend our monthly video-conferences. These are the third Thursday of every month. If your chapter is not currently participating in these, request an invitation for access by e-mailing [email protected].
What’s your #1 business goal/resolution for the New Year?
My top business resolution for 2018 is to “cultivate greener pastures.” My husband (who’s a Texan and cattleman at heart) and I recently relocated to Arkansas. Without missing a beat in our current jobs, we plan to purchase a farm and start a livestock business together. I’m excited about challenging my comfort zone, learning the business strategies involved with livestock reproduction and sales and starting the journey with my husband as a business partner.
What are some special causes you are passionate about to give back to your community?
Helping young leaders discover their unique talents and strengths, and working with passionate women to unlock their potential and turn their ideas, projects or struggling hodgepodge into a business that benefits others are rewarding and bring joy to me.
It’s special to witness how opening the door for someone to explore the path of business
ownership can change someone’s mindset and fuel their passion even more by creating an outlet to multiply their results.
Fortunately, I’m able to use my “Amp-lify Me” intensive bootcamps to help small groups of women achieve this every year. It’s a personal way for me to lend my expertise with small groups of budding female entrepreneurs to help boost their brands and bottom lines.
I’m also able to give back to my community with programs through 4-H, FFA and my church that are designed for developing future leaders in their formative college and early career years.